Who were the "Sea People"

If you look at some of the reliefs in the Amarna period we can find depictions of Syrians or Asiatics wearing a large medallion strung around the neck, and a tunics with a tassel or group of tassels at four? points around the hem.

Top figure.



Some of the Sea Peoples are also depicted with this same medallion, and tunic hemmed with tassels at four? points around the hem.
2nd figure from left is wearing the medallion.


Center figure, wearing the medallion, tassles on the hem of tunic.


I'm aware these figures do not offer a complete answer to your question, but I hope you can see indications that some of these Sea Peoples were Asiatics, quite possibly Syrian.
The headbands do look Semitic because I see a lot of that look in Assyrian reliefs and Steles when it comes to their dealings with local tribes however the medallion is nothing, did Greeks not wear them? ancient peoples used to wear lots of trinkets, that does not point to one group.
What about these images, I can tell you now I've never seen Middle Eastern peoples depicted like this ..................







The above indeed informed our take of the look of the Sea Peoples and if that were so and depctions such as the below are accurate then in all my studies of the Ancient Middle East I've not seen anything like this from those lands, No Semitic peoples, Assyrians, Phoencian's, Mede's, Babylonians, Israelites, Nabateans ......... nothing, this is more a mediterranean Greco look to me.





If these are indeed accurate (obviously we have to take into account modern artistic license) then that is not Semitic peoples.
 
Oct 2013
5,879
Planet Nine, Oregon
I actually suspected you'd mention the tasseled and sometimes paneled kilts and tunics! And my reply was that perhaps the piratical folks also wore foreign clothing or styles on their travels, but that's all I habe. I have seen those depictions too. I think that it was a variety of peoples and the Egyptian artists did their best to try and categorize the main known enemies and depict those types in addition to those with foreign arms and armour. The Sherden working for the Egyptians wear Egyptian military uniforms or armour too, different from the cuirasses seen in the Medinet Habu depictions.
 
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Oct 2013
5,879
Planet Nine, Oregon
Those look exactly like the amphiphalos helmets and big round shields described by Homer, with Aegean-style rapiers and tiara helmets found in Crete (each a bit different).
 
Those look exactly like the amphiphalos helmets and big round shields described by Homer, with Aegean-style rapiers and tiara helmets found in Crete (each a bit different).
Exactly, I have seen many Mycenae armour with that elaborate bronze style and horned helmets, Semites of the Mid East didn't wear stuff like that.
Its also obvious the Philistines are foreign to the land, the way the Israelites talk about them and their behaviour, no matter how bias, it seems like they have a culture clash with their neighbours where as their dealings with the likes of Assyria are more political differences.

Also telling with how ruthless Babylon was with their treatment of the Philistines, other local powers like the Phoenicians and the Israelites were given choices to surrender and accept being a vassal ........... it seems to me from description, Philistines were not given any such option, the Babylonians simply wiped them out.
Its the sort of purging that would occur when there is a clash of foreign culture and alien presence rather than the former I mentioned who have political and historical roots.
 
Likes: Todd Feinman
Oct 2013
5,879
Planet Nine, Oregon
Exactly, I have seen many Mycenae armour with that elaborate bronze style and horned helmets, Semites of the Mid East didn't wear stuff like that.
Its also obvious the Philistines are foreign to the land, the way the Israelites talk about them and their behaviour, no matter how bias, it seems like they have a culture clash with their neighbours where as their dealings with the likes of Assyria are more political differences.

Also telling with how ruthless Babylon was with their treatment of the Philistines, other local powers like the Phoenicians and the Israelites were given choices to surrender and accept being a vassal ........... it seems to me from description, Philistines were not given any such option, the Babylonians simply wiped them out.
Its the sort of purging that would occur when there is a clash of foreign culture and alien presence rather than the former I mentioned who have political and historical roots.
Well, perhaps more evidence will turn up in our lifetimes to not necessarily prove things one way or another but create more of a preponderance. Or not.
 
Feb 2011
761
Kitchener. Ont.
The headbands do look Semitic because I see a lot of that look in Assyrian reliefs and Steles when it comes to their dealings with local tribes however the medallion is nothing, did Greeks not wear them? ancient peoples used to wear lots of trinkets, that does not point to one group.
It isn't just the medallions, the reliefs intended to provide specific details, like those which depict a single captive, or leader, show unmistakable Semitic facial features - hooked nose, high cheekbones, pointed/bearded chin.





Here is a procession of captives proving Egypt's enemies were a mix of races.




The fighting scenes as you posted below..
They all appear to lack the ethnic details in the facial features, the intent here is to show the extent of the conflict and how strong the opposition was. In other words the foreigners are shown in a 'canned' format, just the basic features applicable to everyone.
 
It isn't just the medallions, the reliefs intended to provide specific details, like those which depict a single captive, or leader, show unmistakable Semitic facial features - hooked nose, high cheekbones, pointed/bearded chin.





Here is a procession of captives proving Egypt's enemies were a mix of races.




The fighting scenes as you posted below..


They all appear to lack the ethnic details in the facial features, the intent here is to show the extent of the conflict and how strong the opposition was. In other words the foreigners are shown in a 'canned' format, just the basic features applicable to everyone.
But other reliefs don't have that look, I think you have to have a bit of leeway with the capability and style of the artist, that may just be the way he know's how to engrave.

Also I think its more sensible to glean more from the arms, dress and equipment they use than it is facial features which may be stylized to the artists way of engraving.
 
Jun 2012
7,067
Malaysia
Or perhaps they could hv been a bit like the later Scythians & even later Western Huns. Kind of a mixed multi-ethnic confederation of tribes who like picked up bits & pieces of customs & habits of different peoples whom they came into contact with.
 
Feb 2011
761
Kitchener. Ont.
When I posted this relief I intended to include the accompanying description of the top figure by Dr. Anwar Shoukry.
I include it below the relief, at least you can see it is not just my opinion that the figure is a Semite. This was the top figure of four.



"They are from top to bottom: a Syrian, a Libyan, a Nubian and a Sudanese. Each one has the clothing, equipment and features peculiar to these different peoples....
The northern races are well distinguished from each other. The Syrian with his curled, spade-shaped beard is wearing a long skirt and tasselled loincloth. Round his neck hangs a characteristic pendant in the shape of a disk."


It isn't true to brush this pendant off as insignificant, these Asiatics were identified just as much by what they wore as by their facial features.
This detail was from a ceremonial stool of Tutankhamen, something in the order of 150 years before the wars of Ram. III.

Now this clean-shaven portrait is clearly not the stereotypical Semite, but we know from the texts that different groups like the Denyen, Shekelesh, Tjekker & Peleset all wore the feathered headdress.


In this period we have no likeness of a Greek or Cretan warrior with that same headdress.
What did a Lycian warrior look like, or a Pelasgian, or for that matter any warriors from 'Cilicia' or coastal Syria - like the forerunners of the Phoenicians.
What did they all look like? - we just don't know.
 
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Feb 2011
761
Kitchener. Ont.
...

Also I think its more sensible to glean more from the arms, dress and equipment they use than it is facial features which may be stylized to the artists way of engraving.
We see a very broad range of facial features, so we are not looking at a particular "artists way of engraving".

Arms can be transferred whether by trade or in consequence of defeating your enemy in battle.
Facial features are pretty much fixed as an identifiable marker.
Yet, I have been told that it is thought the Egyptians were more guided by the language spoken by their enemies than by appearance.

Also, I have read a few papers where the style of ship depicted in a relief or painting has been used to try identify the peoples sailing in those ships. Yet we know that the most prolific ship-building region was that around Byblos using the cedars of Lebanon. Byblos had no large navy so it is highly likely Byblos built ships to order. They did build for Egypt, so why not for all the east Mediterranean city-states & countries. Which means a specific type of ship would not be much use as a means of identification.
 

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